I am acutely aware of the challenges that people with cystic fibrosis (CF), and their families, face in managing their condition. I fully acknowledge the need for and support the provision of dedicated accommodation in an environment which allows appropriate isolation for improved infection control.
Beaumont Hospital is one of the largest adult centres in Ireland, providing specialist treatment and services to adults with CF. A new outpatient cystic fibrosis unit was opened in Beaumont Hospital in November 2010. This CF dedicated centre facilitates the delivery of a comprehensive range of services by multidisciplinary teams. These services include consultations with doctors and nurses and the provision of treatments, which might otherwise have required hospitalisation, assessment of pulmonary function, physiotherapy, dietetics and psychology. This unit has a significant benefit for patients by having all services provided in a purpose-built facility.
The building includes consultation and therapy rooms with air filtration units, which allow for twelve air changes per hour, approximately three times the average rate in a normal room. This has significant benefit in reducing the time needed between patients for infection control purposes, which is particularly important for people with CF.
While all appointments have to be scheduled, the new ambulatory day case unit facilitates patient access to essential services. Along with priority access to four en-suite in-patient rooms on St. Paul’s Ward, it means that for Beaumont’s CF patients, admission as an in-patient via the Emergency Department should now be a rare occurrence. This CF unit in Beaumont also contributes to the extensive research activities into CF already well established in Beaumont, principally in collaboration with the RCSI.
A new dedicated Respiratory and CF unit was opened in Temple Street in June 2010 providing state of the art facilities for children with respiratory disorders, their families and staff. It includes a lung function laboratory with the most up to date equipment, spacious patient treatment rooms and outpatient clinic rooms. The entire unit is fitted with a sophisticated air filtration system. This unit serves as a focus for patient care including scheduled outpatient clinics, daily walk in CF clinics, initiation of intravenous antibiotics, upsizing of gastrostomy tubes, family education and support sessions and multi disciplinary team meetings.
The National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory is also located in Temple Street. The new unit facilitates care of the children diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis under the newborn CF screening programme. I am fully aware of the challenges facing CF patients and of the need to support these patients and their families. I am committed to providing the best possible health service and will continue to work with the HSE to ensure the best possible outcomes for these patients.